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BIHL lets women run the show

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Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), the country’s principal diversified insurance and asset management group, has lined up all its most powerful positions with women, from Chief Executive to board chairperson, Business Trends has observed.

All indications are that starting next year, at least three most powerful and influential posts will be occupied by women. As a matter of fact, BIHL Chairperson is Batsho Dambe-Groth. As the BIHL Chairperson, Groth is the main lady when it comes to drafting, approval and execution of the group’s strategy.

BIHL is insurance and asset management behemoth. The company, which is owned in majority by Sanlam, is a market leader in many respects. Its wholly owned subsidiary – Botswana Life – controls more than 70 percent of the industry.

Come April 2016, current Botswana Life boss, Catherine Lesetedi-Letegele will walk across the block at Fairgrounds offices, to assume the BIHL top post on the other side.She will be replacing Malawian-man Gaffar Hassam. Hassam is leaving for a much more challenging and rewarding position as group executive at Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM). As BIHL boss, Letegele will most likely be the most powerful corporate lady in Botswana’s private sector.

Apart from the mouthwatering perks that come with the post, Letegele will be leading a BSE-quoted business, which has a market value of P4, 2 billion. The group is now 40 years old, and it has promised to continue to lead the pack.

BIHL has investments across the economy through its several subsidiaries. At BIFM, the group’s asset management subsidiary, Neo Bogatsu has just received the nod to lead the multibillion Pula Company. It is an early Christmas present for her. She assumed the top post on the 1st December 2015.

As the Chief Executive of this company, Bogatsu is the go to lady for above normal rate return on investments for products such as unit trusts, savings, assets management and capital market investments in the country.

Bogatsu will be heading a trailblazing business with asset under its management totaling P20, 5 billion as of June 2015. In yet another development, which will add to the growing list of women in top posts at BIHL and its subsidiaries, Bilkiss Moorad has been roped in to deputise outgoing Botswana Life boss, Letegele. The post is new at the company.

Moorad, an insurance stalwart is likely to head the company when Letelege bids the firm goodbye early next year, sources have said. Moorad is a former manager at Zurich Insurance company.

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Matambo calls on financial sector to pick GDP

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Finance Minister, kenneth Matambo

Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo has announced that government is committed to support financial service sector to prop up the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Currently contributing over 13 percent to GDP, Matambo said the sector has potential to increase its share. “Hence government’s interest in the sector,” said Matambo addressing delegates at the inaugural Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), Global Financial Summit.

The country has built a strong, resilient and fast growing financial sector underpinned by a robust regulatory framework. The finance minister who is expected to step down next year, noted that government’s commitment to the financial service sector has this year been buttressed by a number of laws passed in July relating to money laundering activities.

In addition, Matambo said the continued investment in the development of information, communication and technologies (ICTs) backbone infrastructure is also to support local banks’ rising appetite for online services.

The Minister said the country remains committed to maintaining micro-economic stability to spur private sector participation in the economy. “Our vision is to become a high income country by 2036,” said Matambo, challenging the private sector to step forward and help government to develop the country, bemoaning the low levels of financial inclusion and shallow domestic capital markets.

He said the private sector should come up with more initiatives to develop further the local capital markets. The Minister’s sentiments were also shared by Martin Davies, Managing Director for Emerging Markets and Africa at Deloitte who has challenged the country to start dealing with its low manufacturing value add.

“How do we start to diversify beyond the single commodity economy,” quizzed Davies, adding that manufacturing increase is vital for low inequality across the country.

“Inequality results in bad public policy, as the state starts to believe and think they have to intervene more,” said Davies, highlighting that the country needs to move away from the absolute concept of state drive growth. Meanwhile, minister Matambo has applauded the private sector for leading economic dialogue in the country through events such as the BIHL Global Finance Summit.

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First Lady advises women entrepreneurs

Keikantse Lesemela

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First lady, Neo Masisi

First Lady, Neo Masisi has urged women entrepreneurs to bring change in the economic development of the country and the rest of Africa.

Speaking during the Lioness Lean in Africa breakfast on Friday, Masisi said women entrepreneurs are remarkable engines of economic growth and job creation. “I believe women entrepreneurs hold incredible potential and credentials on the continent because Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world.

It is projected that millions of much needed jobs will be created over the next decade and these will be created predominantly through small businesses which are mostly run by women,” said Masisi.She highlighted that women entrepreneurs are also the most powerful engine for equitably distributing growth and they are also solutions for addressing inequality on the continent.

“It is a proven fact that for many generations, women understand the simple concept of barter and commerce. These are the role models of our past and our present and they will continue to inspire new generations to do more for business to grow,” she said.

The Lioness Lean In Breakfast Series brings together inspirational and successful women entrepreneurs to share, inspire and connect with the next generation of great women-led start-ups.

The platform is based on a breakfast networking and speaker presentation format, which has been organized in locations across the African continent for the past year by Lionesses of Africa, empowering over one million women entrepreneurs across the continent.

Stanbic Bank Botswana Head of Personal Markets, Omphemetse Dube said they are pleased to bring the Lionesses of Africa Lean In platform to Botswana once again to bring together women entrepreneurs in the country and help to nurture their growth further.

“Botswana is blessed with a number of thriving female entrepreneurs, and the potential for the next generation of talent is strong. Platforms such as this are therefore paramount in growing the cause and we as a bank are proud to help champion that movement further,” said Dube.

Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa,Melanie Hawken noted that Gaborone is a growing and exciting centre for women’s entrepreneurship in Africa. “This is a must-attend event for women entrepreneurs in the country as it gives them the opportunity to hear the inspiring entrepreneurial stories of women who are building great businesses here,” she said.

The annual Lionesses of Africa event allows entrepreneurs to benefit from the insights and advice of women entrepreneurs who have seen and experienced it all and to also provide an excellent opportunity for networking.

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